My melt-in-your-mouth raspberry almond shortbread cookies are so special, and one of the best Christmas cookie recipes! Delicate, buttery shortbread offers the perfect texture, paired with a burst of delicious jam flavor in these raspberry thumbprint cookies. Dazzle your friends and family with a truly delightful cookie this holiday season.

Best Christmas Cookies

For many years, my raspberry almond shortbread cookies recipe has been among the top 5 recipes on this blog. Thousands of you have made these cookies successfully during the Christmas season, but a few of you have had issues with spreading.

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In an effort to continually improve my blog and your baking experiences, I’ve recently updated this recipe with some minor tweaks and extended tips to help you ensure a successful bake! Don’t worry, I’ve got you!

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If you had PERFECT RESULTS with the original recipe, which many of you did, you can still access that information in the recipe card below. Don’t worry!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies - I just made these, they are by far the BEST holiday cookie recipe on Pinterest!

These raspberry thumbprint cookies are MAGICAL, but the recipe can be finicky if you’re not experienced in working with shortbread cookie dough. Keep reading to get all my tips for best outcome

Why You’ll Love These Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

The Perfect Shortbread: What makes my raspberry almond shortbread cookies unique is their simplicity, high butter content, lack of leavening agents, and limited mixing. This results in a tender, crumbly cookie. These characteristics give my shortbread cookies their distinctive flavor and texture, setting them apart from other types of cookies.

The Delicious Flavor: These cookies have a rich, buttery flavor that is accented by almond extract and delicious raspberry jam. Honestly, they are excellent without the icing, but drizzle some on for a delicate, pretty finish and a little extra almond sweetness.

Ingredients

The ingredient list for my raspberry almond shortbread cookies is incredibly simple. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand to make a batch (or three).

For The Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar (134 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, 255 grams (increased from 2 cups in original recipe)
  • 1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam

For The Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (reduced from 1 1/2 in original recipe)

How To Make Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Be sure to go over our tips for this recipe toward the bottom of the post for additional guidance on making the best cookies.

FIRST: In a medium bowl, beat butter for about 30 seconds, scrape down sides.

SECOND: Add the ⅔ cup sugar and the ½ teaspoon almond extract, beat for about 30 seconds or just until combined.

THIRD: On low speed, beat in the flour a little at a time, scraping the sides as necessary until dough is formed.

FOURTH: Using a spatula or a wooden spoon stir in any remaining flour that may be in the bottom of the mixing bowl.

FIFTH: Working very quickly, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. (I used a #60 cookie scoop leveled.) Using your finger tip or knuckle press an indentation into the center of each ball. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before baking.

NOTE: If you don’t have room in your fridge for a cookie sheet, you can place the indented cookies on paper plates. Cover with plastic wrap if you will be chilling more than 1 hour.

STEP 6: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon about ¼ teaspoon of the jam into each indentation. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the edges are light brown.

Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Allow to cool completely before adding the glaze.

STEP 7: In a medium bowl combine powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon water and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Add enough of the remaining water to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle cookies with icing.

Important Recipe Tips

  • Don’t Overwork the Dough: I can’t stress this enough. You’ll want to follow the recipe instructions for the initial butter mixing (30 seconds), and resist your urge to beat the dough longer than necessary in the other steps. You’ll also want to refrain from over-working the raspberry almond shortbread cookie dough when you are scooping and rolling the cookies into balls. Work quickly and don’t get too fussy about the dough looking perfect.
  • Keep That Dough Chilled! The dough for my raspberry almond shortbread cookies must remain cold and firm at all times. If your dough has sat out too long, put it back into the refrigerator to chill prior to attempting to work with it again. I’m sure that this is probably the most likely culprit for spreading cookies.
  • Use Room Temperature Butter: Room temperature butter is cooler than you might think. We want the butter workable, but not warm or over-soft. I cut my butter into chunks and let it sit out in my kitchen for about 30 minutes.
  • Cold Jam: Keep your jam in the refrigerator until you use it, and replace between batches.
  • Making the “Thumbprints”: I know these are called thumbprint cookies, but, I find that the thumb is actually too big/oblong for making impressions in these cookies. You don’t want to flatten the cookie more than necessary and you want a delicate, small little hole to put your jam inside. I recommend using your index-finger knuckle, or, even just a finger tip (assuming you don’t have long nails) to make a compact, small hole. Also, don’t press down too deep! Do not go beyond halfway into the cookie.

Can You Freeze Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies?

Yes! This shortbread cookie dough can be frozen up to 2 months. You can also freeze the baked cookies (without the icing) for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to eat the cookies, you’ll want to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. I love that you can make these Christmas cookies ahead of holiday parties!

How to Store Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

You can store my raspberry almond thumbprint cookies covered at room temperature for 3 days, or for up to 6 days in the refrigerator.

Can I Use Vanilla Extract Instead of Almond Extract?

For sure! I have a few family members who don’t love the flavor of almond extract. I have made these cookies many times using vanilla instead. Simply use the same amounts of vanilla extract in place of the almond for an equally delicious cookie. Want to get really creative? Use a combination of almond and vanilla!

Enjoy!

I hope you love these scrumptious raspberry almond shortbread cookies as much as my family does!

4.41 from 1656 ratings

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Author: Crissy Page
Servings: 36 cookies
Prep: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
These shortbread cookies are buttery, tender, and loaded with flavor! They are the perfect Christmas cookies!

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar 134 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups plus two tablespoons 255 grams all-purpose flour (reduced from 2 cups in original version)
  • 1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam
  • sugar for sprinkling

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract reduced from 1 1/2 teaspoons in original version

Instructions
 

Cookies

  • In a medium bowl, beat butter for about 30 seconds, scrape down sides. Add the ⅔ cup sugar and the ½ teaspoon almond extract, beat for about 30 seconds or just until combined. On low speed, beat in the flour a little at a time, scraping the sides as necessary until dough is formed. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon stir in any remaining flour that may be in the bottom of the mixing bowl. You do NOT want to overwork the dough or let it get too warm. Try to refrain from being fussy over it.
  • Working very quickly, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. (I used a # 60 cookie scoop, leveled.) Using your finger tip or knuckle press an indentation into the center of each ball. Place the indented cookies in the refrigerator for at least one hour before baking. If you don't have space for a cookie sheet in the fridge, you can place the cookies on paper plates. If you are keeping in the fridge for longer than 1 hour, be sure to cover with plastic wrap
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove enough cookies for one cookie sheet (prepared with parchment); space them 2 inches apart. Spoon about ¼ teaspoon of the jam into each indentation (or until hole is filled). Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the edges are very light brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Allow to cool completely before adding the glaze.

Glaze

  • In a medium bowl combine powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon water and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Add enough of the remaining water to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle cookies with icing. Let the glaze setup before disturbing them.

Notes

  1. Don’t Overwork the Dough: I can’t stress this enough. You’ll want to follow the recipe instructions for the initial butter mixing (30 seconds), and resist your urge to beat the dough longer than necessary in the other steps. You’ll also want to refrain from over-working the raspberry almond shortbread cookie dough when you are scooping and rolling the cookies into balls. Work quickly and don’t get too fussy about the dough looking perfect.
  2. Keep That Dough Chilled! The dough for my raspberry almond shortbread cookies must remain cold and firm at all times. If your dough has sat out too long, put it back into the refrigerator to chill prior to attempting to work with it again. I’m sure that this is probably the most likely culprit for spreading cookies.
  3. Use Room Temperature Butter: Room temperature butter is cooler than you might think. We want the butter workable, but not warm or over-soft. I cut my butter into chunks and let it sit out in my kitchen for about 30 minutes.
  4. Cold Jam: Keep your jam in the refrigerator until you use it, and replace between batches.
  5. Making the “Thumbprints”: I know these are called thumbprint cookies, but, I find that the thumb is actually too big/oblong for making impressions in these cookies. You don’t want to flatten the cookie more than necessary and you want a delicate, small little hole to put your jam inside. I recommend using your index-finger knuckle, or, even just a finger tip (assuming you don’t have long nails) to make a compact, small hole. Also, don’t press down too deep! Do not go beyond halfway into the cookie.
Adapted from: Better Homes & Gardens

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 42mg | Sugar: 9g
Nutrition values are estimates, sourced from an online nutrition calculator. This information should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas cookies, christmas recipes, raspberry almond shortbread cookies, thumbprint cookies

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176 Comments

  1. My dough was very dry ! There was no way for me to form a ball??? It felt like an ingredient, was missing. I ended up adding some water to batter. Everyone loved them, but I don’t understand what went wrong. I cook and bake a lot!!!!

    1. The dough is quite crumbly. You have to squeeze it together, and it’s still a bit crumbly even at that point. I’m very glad it turned out for you with the addition of the water, though!

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